I get this question nearly every time I take off my shirt and someone sees that I’m a weightlifter. Should you wear weight lifting gloves? It’s a common question among both new and experienced bodybuilder. In my opinion there is only one answer and that is yes! As a model and actor I need my hands to look good so I have to wear them. I can not play a lawyer on TV with hands that look like a construction worker’s. As a bodybuilder I say yes again. If you are working out hard in a real gym, you should be sweating and if you are sweating there is always a chance of slipping and you do not want that. I also like them for protection of my hands against cuts from knurled bars, smashing my fingers between weights and getting pinched by spring clips.
That is my 35 years of lifting opinion, now lets look at the pros and cons from a unbiased point of view. There are 3 main arguments for and against weight lifting gloves. These arguments involve positive and negative effects on grip strength, technique, and callous formation. There are so many pieces of contradicting information on this topic that it can be difficult to determine what to believe.
Wearing weight lifting gloves for improved grip strength can be both beneficial and detrimental. On one hand, they make it easier to grip the bar when your hands get sweaty. This will allow you to continue to train your muscles, without worrying about whether or not your hands will slip. On the other hand, weight lifting gloves can provide a false sense of grip strength and may slow down the developement of your grip strength. For deadlifter that compete where no straps are used, glove use is not always their best choice for daily training. Wearing weight lifting gloves will increase the diameter of the bar, therefore technically making it more difficult to grip. Whether or not this increases or decreases your grip strength is dependent on personal perception.
The gloves will make it easier to grip when the bar becomes sweaty, but more difficult to grip overall because of the increased thickness of the bar. If you do not want to wear gloves but are having trouble with the barbell slipping out of your hands, try using chalk or an eco ball to decrease the likelihood of slippage.
Weight lifting gloves create a barrier between your hands and the bar. Some argue that this can be detrimental to your technique because this barrier decreases coordination, as well as prevents you from maintaining proper hand-bar position. My favorite types of gloves are the finger tip open gloves. This gives me better dexterity and a closer connection with the bar. However the gloves act as a barrier between your hand and the object, this barrier, coupled with the decreased mobility in your hands and fingers, can make things more difficult. This especially holds true when performing olympic lifts such as power cleans, snatches, and the clean and jerk.
The thickness of the weight lifting gloves makes it harder to keep the bar as close to your wrists as possible during bench and overhead press. This may decrease the efficiency of your lifting technique and potentially cause wrist pain. But many gloves come with a good wrist stabizing velcro strap that can give support to your wrist which will improve your control and can prevent repetitive injuries like capral tunnel syndrome.
In my early days of lifting I took great pride in the calllouses on my hands from lifting. As I became a national level bodybuilder and even before so, I discover using gloves really improved my workouts. It kept my hurting, it allowed my to do forced reps, and provided a little cushion for the bones in my hands when bench weights got above 400 lbs. If you have lifted weights for any amount of time, you’ve probably realized that your hands become dry and calloused from the barbells and dumbbells. Preventing callous formation seems to be the most common reason for wearing weight lifting gloves.I know there were plenty of complaints from women about my hands rubbing sensitive body parts. Manly but sexy, so give me the gloves, because as much as I love bodybuilding I love women more. Weight lifting gloves will reduce callous formation, but will not prevent it completely. This is especially true when dealing with heavy weights. If your significant other complains about the callouses on your hands, it may be best to use weight lifting gloves to aid in combating this.
As you can see, there are many valid arguments both for and against weight lifting gloves. I have been on both side of the argumenet. Some believe that weight lifting gloves help your grip strength, protect your wrists, and prevent callous formation. Others believe that weight lifting gloves decrease your grip strength, may cause wrist pain, and do not prevent callous formation. As a college and semi-pro football player, 15 year competitive bodybuilder, and 35 weight lifter I will tell everyone that asks. WEAR A GOOD WEIGHT LIFTING GLOVE EVERY TIME YOU CAN!